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DraftKings Fantasy Football Tournament Picks: NFL Week 17 Top High-Upside DFS Targets, Sleepers

Geoff Ulrich shares his top high-upside targets, stacks and contrarian options for this week’s main fantasy football slate on DraftKings.

Welcome to the weekly tournament plays article for Sunday’s main DraftKings fantasy football slate. I’m going to focus purely on high-upside plays and stacks that are likely to be low-owned in the largest tournaments on the slate. There will be a lot of bust potential found here on most weeks, but big GPPs are generally not won by making the popular moves.

Set your DraftKings fantasy football lineups here: NFL $3M Fantasy Football Millionaire [$1M to 1st + ToC Entry]


Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati Bengals

Patrick Mahomes ($7,800) — Joe Mixon ($7,500) — Travis Kelce ($7,300)

The Chiefs and Bengals meet this week in a matchup between division leaders. The over/under on DraftKings Sportsbook is at 51 points and has climbed up from 50 to start the week. The Chiefs also enter this game as four-point favorites but the spread has gotten closer as the week has progressed too. It all seems to be telling us to expect a quick, high-scoring game that could come down to the last possession (i.e. a great stacking environment for DFS).

While neither quarterback in this game seems to be garnering a ton of heat in DFS circles, I do like starting with Patrick Mahomes over Joe Burrow. Mahomes is more expensive, but he and the Chiefs are averaging 39.4 pass attempts per game this season, the second-highest mark in the league. The Bengals don’t have an elite pass rush or secondary and have ceded over 295 yards passing in three of their last four games. After a tough middle of the season, Mahomes has really picked up his play of late and comes in averaging 9.4 yards per completion over his last three games—and has completed 73% of his passes over his last three games as well.

Choosing who to stack with Mahomes may not be all that difficult either. The Bengals have only allowed 6.7 yards per pass attempt this season, but have ceded 8.5 yards per attempt to the tight end position. Cincy has also allowed the second-most yards and sixth-most fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season as well. Travis Kelce should be well-rested after a COVID-induced rest week and is coming off his best game of the season, where he averaged 19 yards per catch against the Chargers. With his price high (keeping ownership low) and another weaker linebacker crew to attack, Kelce could be in for another slate-breaking kind of week.

On the other side of this game, I would expect the Bengals to be intent on giving Joe Mixon a ton of work in this matchup as well. The Chiefs’ rush defense remains their Achilles’ heel as they’ve ceded 4.7 yards per carry on the season and given up the fifth-most receptions to the running back position. The magnitude of this game and Mixon’s work/ability as a receiver means we shouldn’t see him off the field much either, regardless of the score. He’s now posted seven games with 25 or more DKFP and makes for a perfect comeback play against the Chiefs’ weak rush defense.

Just Missed: Kyler Murray ($7,300) — Christian Kirk ($5,800) — CeeDee Lamb ($7,100)


Kyler Murray, Arizona Cardinals at Dallas Cowboys ($7,300)

Kyler Murray and the Cardinals take on the Cowboys, who are fresh off embarrassing an NFC East rival in a 56-14 win. The Cardinals themselves enter this game off of three straight losses and need a win just to stay in the NFC West title race. Murray has certainly cooled off as a passer after his fast start to the season and enters this game having completed just 61% of his passes over the last three games. Murray’s struggles as a passer though have opened up more opportunities for his legs and he’s gained over 55 yards rushing in three of his last four outings.

The Cowboys may lead the league in interceptions, but they’ve also given up the ninth-most passing yards on the season. They also allowed 373 yards back in Week 12 to Derek Carr, who was realistically the last starting-caliber NFL quarterback they’ve faced this season. Murray is trending with low sentiment this week, but the Cardinals can’t afford him to sit back and try and pick apart this talented Cowboys secondary. He should push for big rush yards and has good upside against a Dallas defense that tends to give up lots of soft passing yards too.

Just Missed: Trey Lance ($4,800)

Running Back

Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks vs. Detroit Lions ($6,100)

One of the most underrated and positive stories to come from the NFL over the last few weeks is the resurgence of Rashaad Penny. The former first-round pick was likely written off by many after enduring a multitude of injury issues, including a torn ACL in 2019. Penny has ascended the depth chart in Seattle after the Seahawks went through a multitude of ineffective options mid-season (including 37-year-old Adrian Peterson), and has now seen 10 or more carries in each of Seattle’s last four games.

Penny has made the most of those carries, averaging 6.4 YPC over that span. The Seahawks have lacked consistency in the passing game for over a month and with Penny playing the best football of his life, you should certainly expect “establish the run” veteran Pete Carroll to try and ride the momentum to a late-season face-saving win against Detroit. The Seahawks are not only at home, but they are also seven-point favorites, and could also potentially be facing a Lions offense headed by a backup QB in Tim Boyle. Penny’s posted 20+ DKFP in two of his last four starts should push for another big week in this matchup.

Just Missed: Ronald Jones II ($6,300)

Wide Receiver

Brandin Cooks, Houston Texans vs. San Francisco 49ers ($6,000)

The Texans’ second go-around with Davis Mills ($5,500) as their quarterback has gone much better than expected. The rookie has led the Texans to two straight wins and completed 77% of his passes for 9.4 yards per completion against a supposed playoff-caliber Chargers team last week. Mills has also brought Brandin Cooks back to life and the wideout has posted back-to-back 100-yard games while averaging 10.5 targets from Mills over those two starts.

While the San Francisco pass rush could make life difficult for Mills, there will be lots of room for Cooks to maneuver himself open downfield against a weak 49ers secondary. The 49ers have ceded the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season and have given up some monster games of late to the likes of Russell Gage (8 rec, 91 yards, TD) and AJ Brown (11 rec, 145 yards, TD) over their last two starts as well. Cooks gets a huge amount of the target share in the Texans’ offense and is poised to go overlooked in a matchup that has the potential to produce a banner type of day for DFS.

Just Missed: DJ Moore ($5,600)

Tight End

Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears vs. New York Giants ($3,400)

The Bears’ offense actually looked competent last week under veteran Nick Foles ($4,800), but the Bears’ starting quarterback this week remains a mystery. One thing we should be able to count on though is Cole Kmet to keep getting targets. The second-year player has averaged 7.3 targets per game over his last five starts (despite playing with three different quarterbacks) and has averaged over 11 yards per catch in three of his last four games.

Kmet’s lack of touchdowns on the season (he literally has zero) has held him back from being a great DFS value, but he does have a great matchup this week in which to break his dry spell. The Giants have given up the ninth-most receptions and ceded the second-most red-zone catches to opposing tight ends this season. Kmet’s cheap and remains off the mainstream radar enough that he won’t garner much ownership in what is a great spot against a fading Giants defense. He’s a good value option if you need to go cheap at tight end.

Just Missed: Gerald Everett ($4,100)

Defense/Special Teams

Tennessee Titans ($3,100) vs. Miami Dolphins

I’ve brought up the Titans’ DST unit in this column recently and have no issues going back to the well with them for Week 17. The Titans enter this game having amassed six interceptions over their last three games and now sit 10th in the league in that stat. The Titans have also upped their pressure rate as the season has worn on and now sit 10th in the league in sacks per game with 2.5 per game.

Both DST’s in this matchup have good upside but the Titans also enter as solid 3.5-point home favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook. Dolphins starter Tua Tagovailoa isn’t really a deep ball threat (7.1 yards per completion on the season) and can be turnover prone with nine interceptions in 10 games that he’s started and finished. Teams can’t run against the Titans (they are allowing just 2.7 YPC over their last three games) and that means they should have lots of chances for fantasy points against a turnover-prone quarterback on the other side who will likely be throwing the ball 35+ times in this spot.

Just missed: Los Angeles Rams ($3,600)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is wavegoodbye) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.

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